The Washington Nationals today signed catcher Ivan Rodriguez to a two-year contract. Nationals Senior Vice President & General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
One of baseball’s all-time best two-way catchers, Rodriguez owns an extensive hardware collection anchored by a record 13 Gold Gloves--among catchers, only Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bench (10) earned more than seven--and seven Silver Sluggers, a tally trumped by only Mike Piazza (10).
Rodriguez is a career .299 (2711-for-9070) hitter with 547 doubles, 305 home runs and 1264 RBI in 2388 games spanning 19 big league seasons with Texas, Florida, Detroit, New York (AL) and Houston.
Behind the plate, Rodriguez offers extensive knowledge and experience to the Nationals’ young pitching staff and a throwing arm which has thrown out 42 percent of would-be basestealers (532 of 1264) during his career, the top figure posted since comprehensive defensive catching statistics began being compiled by STATS, Inc. in 1987. Perhaps greater than the actual number of runners gunned down, Rodriguez’s reputation for unparalleled arm strength has annually served as baseball’s top deterrent to an opponents’ running game.
Rodriguez will enter his first season in Washington ranked among backstops all-time in games caught (first, 2288), runs (first, 1308), hits (first, 2711), doubles (first, 547), extra-base hits (first, 902), batting average (sixth, .299), RBI (sixth, 1264), home runs (seventh, 305) and slugging percentage (10th, .471) among those to catch at least 1000 games. On June 17, 2009, Rodriguez became baseball’s all-time leader in games caught, surpassing Carlton Fisk.
Rodriguez, 38, sports post-season experience garnered during five playoff runs, nine series and 40 October contests. Rodriguez was named MVP of the 2003 NLCS, as he hit .321 with two homers and 10 RBI to nudge the Marlins into the World Series, where he eventually claimed his only World Championship ring.
In 1999, Rodriguez played in 144 games--catching 141 (often in extreme Texas heat)--and hit a career-best .322 while recording career highs in home runs (35), RBI (113) and stolen bases (25) to claim the American League MVP award.
In 2009, Rodriguez combined to hit .249 with 23 doubles, 10 home runs and 47 RBI in 121 games for Houston and Texas. He was acquired by the Rangers for their stretch run on August 18.